“Distinction” is a term that crops up again and again within the philosophical and ontological arts. But what is distinction? And why is it important?
A distinction separates something into its own category or concept.
A distinction lets us know/feel/understand/grok the difference or particularnless of a thing/feeling/thought/category/concept.
Once a distinction is created, it becomes a vessel into which we can pour our attention and inquiry and understanding into.
Distinctions allow us to see things in greater detail, bringing refinement and granularity to things or behaviours or thoughts that otherwise would be the same for us.
Distinctions, ultimately, open whole new worlds and perceptions and understandings and even realms of possibility, of being, and of living.
Before something is distinct, we can’t really focus on it, because, to us, it’s not yet a thing.
The same happens in the martial arts. The distinction of “rooting” creates a new world to explore: How do I root? What does my body need to do to root? How do I gain that stability? How do I transfer forces into the ground? What does it feel like? What do I have to adjust? Ok, what do I have to adjust now to make it even better?
As we practice, we use distinction between two states or positions to develop things further. Feeling the difference in balance, power, and exertion between two different body positions lets us know which one is more in line with proper rooting. “Here I have to struggle to resist an incoming force, but here I am at ease. This is what it feels like to engage rooting.”
With that double distinction, we know what we’re aiming for, and we gain a better sense of when we’re on target, and when we are not.*
So too when we learn a philosophical distinction. Whether it be about the stories we tell ourselves, or one of the logical fallacies, or about identity, or about the hilarious ways we continually subvert our rationality, whenever we gain a distinction in those realms we gain access to it. Distinction turns it from being a blind spot that we can only ever inadvertently crash into it into something we not only can avoid but can also use to our ever-growing advantage.
Distinctions are the root power of transformation. And from those roots grows a glorious life full of power, joy, and peace.
* And as we gain further distinctions, our idea of rooting improves, which improves our grasp of where we should aim, which we then refine through testing and feeling, and thus the cycle of growth in ability continues evermore.